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2ndRateMind

Can you be both rich and Christian...

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...given the reality of extreme poverty? Or put another way, are rich Christian inevitably hypocrites? Can one be one's brother's keeper, and love one's neighbour as oneself, and still be wealthy?

 

Best wishes, 2RM.

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I think it depends on what you do with your money.

 

Scripture is full of exhortation to help others which mostly involves spending money - James 4:15-16. And warnings about the misuse wealth – James 5:1-6.

 

Alms giving is commended:

"Son, give alms in proportion to what you own. If you have great wealth, give alms out of your abundance; if you have but little, distribute even some of that. But do not hesitate to give alms" (Tobit 4:8)

 

"Be not impatient in prayers, and neglect not the giving of alms."

(Sirach 7:10)

 

 

 

 

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...given the reality of extreme poverty? Or put another way, are rich Christian inevitably hypocrites? Can one be one's brother's keeper, and love one's neighbour as oneself, and still be wealthy?

 

Best wishes, 2RM.

 

A lot of this video pertains to your question. It is rather short, please consider viewing it. It addresses a lot of the Prosperity doctrine, and those preaching it in areas stricken with poverty. Moreso, it addresses the hazards of wealth and money.

 

 

God bless,

William

 

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Yes, good video, William. And I'm all for alms giving, Bede, despite it's rather patronising overtones. Just to put this in perspective, if all the world's wealth were equally divided, we would each enjoy a net worth of around $49,000.00. If the world's annual production were equally divided, we would all have an income of around $12,600.00 per year. But, of course, wealth and incomes are not equally divided; according to Oxfam, the top 1% hog over 50% of each, and still complain about redistributive taxation, while a third of the world's population eke out meagre lives on less than $2.00 per day. This is a scandalous state of affairs, and mortally so, at that. It seems to me that it is a Christian duty to champion the absolute, vital right of the poor to a just division of the world's wealth. I am not even sure that it is moral to maintain a net worth and/or income above the levels everyone would enjoy, if everyone had an equal stake in God's providence.

 

Best wishes, 2RM.

Edited by 2ndRateMind

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And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof: But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard. (Exodus 23:10-11 KJV)

 

The Israelites needed to look after the poor by a legislated program of giving rather than by free-will giving alone. The law that God gave to them does not bind anybody today yet the principle embodied in the verses above ought to shape a Christian's thinking about the relief of the poor in the lands in which we live.

 

Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour. (Leviticus 19:15 KJV)

 

Justice is not to be corrupted either to favour the poor or to respect the rich.

 

If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth. Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be sin unto thee. Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto. For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land. (Deuteronomy 15:7-11 KJV)

 

Personal generosity towards the poor is a moral command from God, once again it is important to observe that the laws of Israel are not necessarily binding in our lands yet the principle embodied in the above verses ought to shape a Christian's thinking about the relief of the poor in the lands in which we live.

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An excellent video William,

 

I’ve heard of the “prosperity gospel” but it’s not something we hear over in England. It’s a perversion of the real gospel.

 

I once read a book called “Money, Sex and Power”. It wasn’t actually about those three topics directly but the responses to them over the centuries. The old monastic response was poverty, chastity and obedience. I remember it referred to a couple of others but I can’t remember what they were. It then moved on a suggested modern response. The suggested response to money was simplicity, and I think that is a good response. We should aim for a simple lifestyle in what we eat, what we wear, the things we use etc.

 

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Simplicity is good. I can vouch for it; not only politically, but as a psychologically healthy way to be, and conduct one's affairs. As a first step, it helps to decide the top seven themes of your life and ambition, such as health, family, work, hobbies, etc, and then dispose of every item you own that does not, in some way, contribute to the advancement of those themes. Declutter, and feel better for it.

 

Best wishes, 2RM.

Edited by 2ndRateMind

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I read a great book once called "Freedom From Clutter". It certainly helps to de-clutter your life and get rid of stuff you don't need or use..

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Indeed, but I don't want to be distracted by the idea of decluttering. I'm more interested in your concept of simplicity, and what that might mean for a rich Christian, and what it might mean for the poor of any faith. I cannot think that such a concept might in any way be bad for either. Or indeed, the global ecosystem on which we all depend, and seem to be intent on degrading. Would you like, Bede, to expand on this concept? What distinguishes simplicity from complexity in life, and how is a modern, complex society to regain its simplicity without sacrificing its beneficial advances?

 

Best wishes, 2RM.

Edited by 2ndRateMind

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Coincidinky.... popped up on my Facebook today:

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]n3679[/ATTACH]

 

God bless,

William

11169901_684339485000322_6100376621301162995_n.jpg

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Uh huh.

 

Amusing.

 

But it is not money, I understand, to be the root of all evil, but the love of money.

 

Don't get me wrong. I am not against riches. I want everyone rich. I am only against some being obscenely rich, while others are absolutely poor.

 

Best wishes, 2RM

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Uh huh.

 

Amusing.

 

But it is not money, I understand, to be the root of all evil, but the love of money.

 

Don't get me wrong. I am not against riches. I want everyone rich. I am only against some being obscenely rich, while others are absolutely poor.

 

Best wishes, 2RM

 

No need to explain, I agree with you. It is the love of money.

 

God bless,

William

 

 

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One person's obscenely rich might be another person's comfortably well off! :D

 

But yes, there are the super rich whose sole use of money seems to be extravagent and flaunt their wealth..

 

In centuries past the rich, at least some of them, used to be philanthropists and fund public works, like schools, hospitals, libraries, almshouses for the elderly etc. We now live in a very "me" society.

 

There are still philathropists like Bill Gates but they seem to be in a very tiny minority.

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There is something rather horrible about a single person possessing 50 billion dollars of wealth.

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There is something rather horrible about a single person possessing 50 billion dollars of wealth.

 

Even more so are others thinking they have the right to distribute that person's money more than them perhaps they should be in charge of the social economy? If they are providing jobs and decide to distribute more of it through labor rather than charity and not supporting the sluggard. While I agree with the above posts, and disagree with a Christian Theonomy, I want to emphasize that I do not think a secular or socialist system over a Christian Theonomy better.

 

If you took the 50 billion from person A and distributed across the world to say Person B-Z, and fed everyone for a month or so, then what? With food and drink we should be content, are we suggesting that others have rights to mansions and fancy cars? When the 50 Billion runs out, I suspect people would have to hunt for themselves or farm, and those better off would eventually provide or store up their labor that others would still want them to distribute. We have to acknowledge that not everyone is Spiritual and sees the reward in heaven, but are rather worldly. Fact is we are speaking about a Spiritual problem more than anything else. In an ideal utopia everyone would be charitable, but every ideal utopia man has concocted fails, perhaps because every which way to paradise since the beginning has been guarded by a flaming sword.

 

God bless,

William

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There are temptations associated with wealth and poverty.

 

Give me neither poverty nor riches;

feed me with the food that is needful for me,

lest I be full and deny you

and say, “Who is the LORD?”

or lest I be poor and steal

and profane the name of my God.

(Proverbs 30:8-9 ESV)

I would like to be rich because I believe I would use my wealth to do good, but perhaps God has kept me from becoming rich because he knows I would yield to the temptation to trust in my riches rather than in him.

 

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Even more so are others thinking they have the right to distribute that person's money more than them perhaps they should be in charge of the social economy? If they are providing jobs and decide to distribute more of it through labor rather than charity and not supporting the sluggard. While I agree with the above posts, and disagree with a Christian Theonomy, I want to emphasize that I do not think a secular or socialist system over a Christian Theonomy better.

 

 

Yes, William. I am not sure what a Christian Theonomy is. Perhaps you can explain. But I think we have to reject the idea that that our money is ours, to do with as we wish, and embrace the conception that it is entrusted to us by God, to do with as He wishes.

 

I am not a communist, and this is not a communist thread. But I do verge to the left of the political centre ground, and I do think that while war, famine, pestilence and avoidable death stalk the world, we Christians have work to do. It would be just great if the resources of the rich were available to us to help pursue this work.

 

Best wishes, 2RM.

Edited by 2ndRateMind

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Even more so are others thinking they have the right to distribute that person's money more than them

 

 

I think we have to take a moral view of this, rather than a legalistic one. On the whole, in respect of property, society relies on a legacy of rights and laws created by the wealthy to protect the interests of the wealthy. When there is a matter of life and death, when a poor person dies for lack of food, clean water, or of medicines, because someone else has accrued more than their fair share of wealth, and will not spend it to save that life, but prefers their own luxury, then I think we are entitled to question the morality of the system we have been bequeathed by our forbears.

 

Best wishes, 2RM.

 

Edited by 2ndRateMind

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Hmmm. So I googled theonomy. It sounds like a wholly hateful movement, entirely opposed to the possibility of human progress. In particular, it seems to reject the paradigm shift initiated by Jesus, regarding the relationship between God and Man, and man and neighbour. It is, therefore, regression, and I cannot commend it.

 

Best wishes, 2RM

Edited by 2ndRateMind

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Hmmm. So I googled theonomy. It sounds like a wholly hateful movement, entirely opposed to the possibility of human progress. In particular, it seems to reject the paradigm shift initiated by Jesus, regarding the relationship between God and Man, and man and neighbour. It is, therefore, regression, and I cannot commend it.

 

Best wishes, 2RM

 

Does hateful in your post mean that you hate theonomy or that you think theonomy is full of hate towards something or somebody?

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Hmmm. So I googled theonomy. It sounds like a wholly hateful movement, entirely opposed to the possibility of human progress. In particular, it seems to reject the paradigm shift initiated by Jesus, regarding the relationship between God and Man, and man and neighbour. It is, therefore, regression, and I cannot commend it.

 

I sure hope 2ndRateMind does not infer that it is hateful to establish the OT law when advocating the two great commandments in Matthew 22:37-40.

 

Please consider:

  • Deuteronomy 6:5, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might."
  • Leviticus 19:18, "You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD."

I'd also be interested in your view 2ndRateMind of the OT regarding generous giving. One Republican is suggesting that Americans should be taxed 10% equally across all classes. Do you consider this unfair?

 

God bless,

William

 

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Thanks for your replies, Peppermint and William.

 

 

Does hateful in your post mean that you hate theonomy or that you think theonomy is full of hate towards something or somebody?

 

I think theonomy hates liberalism, and human moral progress. I am a progressive liberal, and I fight fire with fire.

 

 

I sure hope 2ndRateMind does not infer that it is hateful to establish the OT law when advocating the two great commandments in Matthew 22:37-40.

 

...

I'd also be interested in your view 2ndRateMind of the OT regarding generous giving. One Republican is suggesting that Americans should be taxed 10% equally across all classes. Do you consider this unfair?

 

God bless,

William

 

Indeed, not all the Old Testament is bad. But it is superseded by the New, and we need to remember that.

 

In respect of an equal rate of tax for all income bands. Superficially, it sounds fair. But I note that it is easier for someone on $100,000 per year to find $10,000 for tax, leaving them $90,000 to spend, than it is for someone on $10,000 per year to find $1000, leaving them only $9,000. I think a truly fair system of taxation, if such a beast actually exists, would take this ease of finding into account, and tax the wealthier at higher rates than the poorer. In other words, let the broadest shoulders carry the bulk of the burden.

 

Best wishes, 2RM.

Edited by 2ndRateMind

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Thanks for your replies, Peppermint and William.

 

I think theonomy hates liberalism, and human moral progress. I am a progressive liberal, and I fight fire with fire.

By USA political standards every Australian no matter how far right leaning is practically a socialist or a communist with an evil liberal agenda. That does not matter. USA politics is corrupt and wicked and Christians ought not to make its standards their own. I say that same of Australian politics too. It is wicked and Christians ought not to make its standards their own. If Christians must fight then let it be for the Lord Jesus Christ's standards and not for those of worldly princes.

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Thanks for your replies, Peppermint and William.

 

I think theonomy hates liberalism, and human moral progress. I am a progressive liberal, and I fight fire with fire.

 

Indeed, not all the Old Testament is bad. But it is superseded by the New, and we need to remember that.

 

In respect of an equal rate of tax for all income bands. Superficially, it sounds fair. But I note that it is easier for someone on $100,000 per year to find $10,000 for tax, leaving them $90,000 to spend, than it is for someone on $10,000 per year to find $1000, leaving them only $9,000. I think a truly fair system of taxation, if such a beast actually exists, would take this ease of finding into account, and tax the wealthier at higher rates than the poorer. In other words, let the broadest shoulders carry the bulk of the burden.

 

Best wishes, 2RM.

 

So the liberal claims human progress (despite the decline in morality, unless arguing murdering 56 million unborn babies is not immoral, redefines idolatry - love, lust and even marriage), looks at the 10,000 dollars another gave, and then the 1000 dollars they gave and says unfair!

 

would take this ease of finding into account

 

I think liberals are not only redefining covenanting thy neighbors' goods but taking it to new proportions. No wonder conservatives are up in arms over the invasive nature of a liberal leaning government.

 

God bless,

William

 

 

 

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You are quite safe from me, William! I am a European! I don't have a dog in this American fight. So, now relax, and make your points in a sufficiently cogent fashion for my poor 2ndRateMind to grasp.

 

Best wishes, 2RM.

Edited by 2ndRateMind

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